Joey Ramone was once quoted as saying about their drummer Richie Ramone “Richie saved the band as far as I’m concerned. He’s the greatest thing to happen to the Ramones. He put the spirit back in the band.” For those that don’t know, Richie Ramone was the 3rd drummer for The Ramones, and the only drummer in The Ramones who was ever credited with writing any songs which he did during his stint with them throughout Too Tough To Die, Animal Boy, and Halfway To Sanity in the mid 80s.
On a chilly March Sunday, I headed to Philly’s Barbary to catch Richie Ramone play a small intimate room of both his solo work and Ramones classics. The show was thrown by Philly’s Guitar Army, a monthly DJ event held at the Barbary that plays proto-punk/punk that will occasionally throw shows and brought Richie Ramone around the first time I caught him during a snowstorm back in 2014, and local radio station WMMR. (Side note: the last Guitar Army event is this Thursday at The Barbary, so if you’re interested in checking it out, do it before it goes on hiatus indefinitely after its 7 year run!)
I got there right as Philly locals The Dull Blue Lights were setting up.
The Dull Blue Lights
I’ve seen Philly’s The Dull Blue Lights once before (I believe at The Barbary) and caught them a few times years back when they were still a ska band called The Snails. The Dull Blue Lights play soul, doowop, and 60s pop tinged rock with the occasional ska/rocksteady influence thrown in for good measure.
One thing that really stands out about The Dull Blue Lights is just how tight the band sounds. These guys are all really talented musicians and incredibly well rehearsed, and it definitely shines through their live performance. Genre-bending and refusing to stay constricted to one style, The Dull Blue Light not only make it work, but manage to blend all of their influences into one cohesive style.
Richie and his band took the stage and immediately opened with Ramones instrumental Durango 95 before blasting into I Don’t Wanna Go Down To The Basement. Switching between drumming, singing, and drumming WHILE singing, Richie Ramone and company played a set heavy of Ramones songs with only a few of his solo stuff thrown in.
Although the set had a few sound issues (it was very difficult to hear the vocals, both Richie and anyone else he had sing when he was focusing on only drumming), the band still managed to put on a fun show. I never had the pleasure of seeing The Ramones live, and they’re probably the band I wish I could go back in time and see more than any other band (yes, even more than The Clash), so it’s always fun to see Richie Ramone when he comes around and does a bunch of The Ramones songs including the ones he wrote (Somebody Put Something In My Drink, Smash You, etc). He’ll be hitting up South America in April, so if you’re down there, and I know that a few of you readers are, go check him out.
I Don’t Wanna Go Down The Basement
Somebody Put Something In My Drink
I Know Better Now
I Don’t Care
Better Than Me
Chasing The Night
I Fix This
Judy Is A Punk
Howling At The Moon
Enjoy The Silence (Depeche Mode cover)
Today Your Love, Tomorrow The World
I’m Not Jesus
The Last Time
Have You Seen The Rain (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
You Can’t Say Anything Nice
Sheena Is A Punk Rocker